What a business might think their users want vs. what their users actually want are often two very different things. When designing a website, its more than aesthetics and features that create a memorable experience, striking a balance with usability is essential to encourage users to return again and again.
Gaining a real understanding of exactly who your audience is and creating detailed user personas is vital in building the optimum online experience that appeals directly to those individuals. Ask yourself, are you really thinking about your users enough?
Why should websites be built with the user in mind?
Did you know, 53 percent of consumers feel brands fail to meet their experience standards? Even worse, 76 percent of individuals said they would switch to a competitor after just one negative experience with a brand. The gap is clear between customer experience and a businesses’ confidence in their ability to deliver. Your website is fundamental in bridging this gap, designing with the user in mind.
Whilst gathering internal stakeholder input is an effective place to start for any web project, forming an understanding of your target audience, users and exactly what those users want from your website should be a top priority. Your internal perspective needs validating with consumer research to truly understand who is visiting your website, what they need and how they physically interact. By carefully considering both stakeholder expectations and thorough user research, the aim is to align your brand objectives with what your audience want.
How to identify and analyse user behaviours
Many companies skip one of the most important stages of building a new or designing a website – the research. Conducting comprehensive research through kick-off workshops, stakeholder interviews and user groups all define your user personas. By developing these personas, you can uncover insight into their motivations, their pain points and how to engage them with your brand. Essentially, if you can give them what they want, it’s sure to help you achieve your objectives.
With a clear understanding of your user personas, behaviour analysis can begin. The three core areas we focus on are:
Heat Mapping: Using tracking tools such as Hotjar, we generate ‘heat maps’ to identify where users click on your webpage. This insight shows which content is the most engaging, painting a picture of their behaviour over time. Interactions can also be recorded to track a user’s journey, helping us validate site content, conversion and navigation to inform improvements where necessary.
A/B Testing: Comparing alternative design options and testing user interactions with both, we establish which has the better performance. A segment of site visitors will see option ‘A’, and another segment will see option ‘B’, by tracking these variations we can see which design has a higher rate of conversion. A/B testing requires minimal developer overheads and reduces the risk of wider site impact by deploying permanent changes to the code.
Google Analytics: Considering factors including demographics, device and site interactions to name but a few, Google Analytics helps to validate qualitative user research. It also allows tracking of site performance when changes have been made so we can continue making iterative improvements.
Analysing what users are doing on your site sets up a strong foundation to implement improvements from. Even better, these improvements are based on exactly what your target audience need from your website.
How can we help you?
Our years of experience working across many different clients has cemented the importance of user personas for any website project – regardless of your industry.
A number of our clients have complex website offerings that must cater to a range of user personas. Our work with premium wood flooring company, Havwoods, involved a collection of disparate website requirements, but by using persona workshops alongside clever UX and design, we were able to create a website experience that adapted based on individual customer needs. Defining these specific user buying journeys for each persona influenced our UX and design process. For example, an Architect’s requirements differ from a customer needing samples for their home improvement project.
Working collaboratively with Marshalls, we completed extensive user persona testing which provided a starting point for their UX and design requirements. This led to the build of a website structure that accommodates each and every user. It’s crucial to deliver the right message, to the right person, at the right time, and user research improves the chance of achieving this.
User expectations are constantly growing, and websites need to cater for this evolving behaviour. Alongside an iterative test, learn and improve approach, you can discover exactly what makes your customers tick. We can help generate detailed user personas, connecting your brand and your objectives with your customers’ requirements for optimum website performance. Speak to us today to discuss your website objectives and how we can help you achieve them.